Family Dynamics Findings
Each woman felt a deep connection with her family. While some women were single, others took on the multitude of roles that come with being married with children. Others still were divorced mothers that used their business to support their children. The importance of family served a primary role in some of these businesses, whereas other women made sure to keep family and business separate. Each woman exemplified her connection to her family in a way that was unique to her familial and entrepreneurial needs and responsibilities.
Within the context of our research, the female entrepreneurs expressed a varied set of opinions on the topic of feminism—some believing women were hindered by traditional Taiwanese culture and some believing that a person’s success is not a testament to gender but to those who helped them along the way. When asked if they agreed that the sexes should have equal rights, access, and opportunity, all of the interviewed women agreed.
The women became entrepreneurs primarily due to “pull” factors and each owner was motivated by more than money to pursue her business. Some of the entrepreneurs were focused on personal issues: being able to take care of aging parents; working hard to establish a business; persevering and being strong. Other entrepreneurs were centered on helping others, particularly women & students.
Applied Literature Findings
Three key concepts were applied from the literature: role balance, transformational leadership, and the “third place.”
- Theory of Role Balance (Marks and MacDermid, 1996):
- Given the emphasis on the family roles in Taiwanese society for women, participants had to balance family and business roles. All participants effectively balanced her family and business roles, reporting that their main family groups supported them.
- Transformational Leadership (to employees) (Collins and Burke, 2001)
- Participants reported using a more relationship-focused leadership style which was manifested in how the women considered customers and employees as family.
- Characteristics: Charisma, “intellectual stimulation,” “inspirational motivation,” and “individualized motivation” (p. 245).
- Third Place (to customers) (Oldenburg and Brisset, 1982):
- The businesses were designed to provide a “third place,” not family or work, for interaction.
- Concept is applied to the smaller and less intimate businesses with less than 100 customers daily
- Promoted socializing (p. 265), informal (non-business) conversations (p. 265), diverse and novel interactions (p. 275, 277), and “emotional expressivity” (p. 265)
- Burke, S., & Collins, K. M. (2001). Gender differences in leadership styles and management skills. Women in Management Review, 16(5), 244-257.
- Marks, S. R., & MacDermid, S. M. (1996). Multiple roles and the self: A theory of role balance. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 417-432.
- Oldenburg, R., & Brissett, D. (1982). The third place. Qualitative Sociology, 5(4), 265-284.